Centre convenes all-party meeting on Sri Lanka


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called an all-party meeting on Tuesday evening on Sri Lanka. The move comes amid growing concerns over Tamil population in the crisis-ridden island nation. DMK and AIADMK on Sunday expressed concerns over Sri Lankan Tamils in a meeting that was convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla ahead of Monsoon Session. Raising the concerns, the Tamil parties demanded the government to intervene to solve the deepening economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka.

Speaking to reporters after the Sunday meeting, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai said that India should intervene and help resolve the crisis Sri Lanka is facing. DMK MP TR Baalu also demanded the government to intervene in Sri Lanka. AIADMK is a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Sunday made the announcement on the all-party meet on Sri Lanka. “On Tuesday, we are calling for another all-party meeting to brief on the Lankan crisis. We have requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to hold this briefing,” Joshi said.

According to government sources, political parties, especially from Tamil Nadu, are worried about the Sri Lankan crisis and an impending refugee crisis in the state in days to come. “The government is calling for suo motto meeting to address the concerns of several political parties, especially in Tamil Nadu, as they are worried about the Sri Lankan crisis and the influx of refugees in the state,” the sources said.

The foreign secretary is likely to make a presentation before the members on the situation in Sri Lanka and the assistance that India has given in the past to the island nation. The meeting is likely to commence on Tuesday evening.

In March, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had in his meeting with PM Modi expressed raised concern about the situation in Sri Lanka and asked for permission to send relief material to the country, which had begun witnessing public unrest owing to economic crisis since March. The government had accepted the request in early May and sent food and medicine worth Rs 2 billion to Sri Lanka on 22 May.

Sri Lanka is facing worst economic crisis which has resulted in political turmoil with popular protests forcing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign from his post. There is huge food and fuel shortage. Indian government has extended a credit line to the country to purchase fuel from Russia.